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Monday, December 31, 2012

Switching Nationalities

  
My mother isn’t very happy with me since I refused to buy her a tube of hair removal cream so she could impress the young surgeon who operated on her a few weeks before Christmas. I visited her every day in the hospital and it didn’t bother her that she was starting to resemble Joseph Stalin, but enter good looking Dr. Fernando, who’s half my age, and Mom suddenly wants to look like Angelina Jolie.... Read the rest of my post (Here).



Note: This is the last day for the original Chubby Chatterbox. If you haven’t yet joined the new site because you aren’t pleased or familiar with Google+ or Networked Blogs, there’s a third widget that’s been added. All you need to do is submit your e-mail address on the blog page and then follow the simple instructions on a site called Blogtrottr. Be sure to add my NEW URL (chubbychatterbox.com) and not the old one  I’m told this is extremely uncomplicated and I hope some of you will give this a try and let me know how it works.

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Be Careful!


The NRA wants to arm everyone, so be careful out there.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Brontosaurus Ribs


  
I recently saw an online statistic claiming that more than seventy percent of American families enjoyed prime rib for Christmas dinner. At Chatterbox Manor we did not have prime rib for Christmas dinner; instead we opted for Honey Baked Ham.
     Years ago Mrs. Chatterbox decided to roast our first prime rib for Christmas shortly after we were married. We made a huge mistake...



Note: If you haven’t yet joined the new Chubby Chatterbox because you aren’t pleased or familiar with Google+ or Networked Blogs, there’s a third widget that’s been added to  Chubby Chatterbox. All you need to do is submit your e-mail address on the blog page and then follow the simple instructions on a site called Blogtrottr. Be sure to add my NEW URL (chubbychatterbox.com) and not the old one  I’m told this is extremely uncomplicated and I hope some of you will give this a try and let me know how it works.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Peculiar Picture #20

  
 Another Christmas has come and gone and I’m sitting here staring at the tree and already thinking about the complicated process of taking it down, boxing up the delicate ornaments, folding up the tree skirt and all the other things that make our tree pretty. Mrs. Chatterbox once had a crazy aunt who one year took a piece of plywood, nailed roller skates to it and used it as a Christmas tree platform. The decorated tree was kept in the garage under a tarp and on December 1st she’d kick it in from the garage and roll it into position in the living room. A week after Christmas she’d roll it back to the garage and throw the tarp back over it. Mrs. Chatterbox’s crazy aunt is starting to seem like a genius.


Peculiar Picture #20


You can check out all of Peculiar Picture #20 here.


Note: If you haven’t yet joined the new Chubby Chatterbox because you aren’t pleased or familiar with Google+ or Networked Blogs, there’s a third widget that’s been added to ChubbyChatterbox. All you need to do is submit your e-mail address on the blog page and then follow the simple instructions on a site called Blogtrottr. Be sure to add my NEW URL (chubbychatterbox.com) and not the old one  I’m told this is extremely uncomplicated and I hope some of you will give this a try and let me know how it works.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Her Last Christmas

 
Christmas is that time of year when the pull of my ethnic background is the strongest. Dad’s folks weren’t anything in particular but Mom’s parents were Portuguese and her side of the family always won the weird relative contest. Read just how weird it got here.

Note: If you haven’t yet joined the new Chubby Chatterbox because you aren’t pleased or familiar with Google+ or Networked Blogs, there’s a third widget that’s been added to ChubbyChatterbox. All you need to do is submit your e-mail address on the blog page and then follow the simple instructions on a site called Blogtrottr. Be sure to add my NEW URL (chubbychatterbox.com) and not the old one  I’m told this is extremely uncomplicated and I hope some of you will give this a try and let me know how it works.

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Lurking On Our Christmas Tree


I'd just poured myself a cup of hot chocolate and was settling down to enjoy our beautiful Christmas decorations (mostly the work of Mrs. Chatterbox) when my attention turned to the beautiful tree ornaments we’ve collected over the years. But wait a minute; two ornaments looks peculiar....


Note: If you haven’t yet joined the new Chubby Chatterbox because you aren’t pleased or familiar with Google+ or Networked Blogs, there’s a third widget that’s been added to ChubbyChatterbox. All you need to do is submit your e-mail address on the blog page and then follow the simple instructions on a site called Blogtrottr. Be sure to add my NEW URL (chubbychatterbox.com) and not the old one  I’m told this is extremely uncomplicated and I hope some of you will give this a try and let me know how it works.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

A Hard Mother to Please

  
Many of us were raised by hard to please parents; many of us are dealing with them still. Some consolation can be had in knowing that famous and powerful people also had similar problems, even someone as renowned as Napoleon Bonaparte. By most accounts Napoleon’s mother was hard to impress and not easy to get along with. Read about it here.


Note: If you haven’t yet joined the new Chubby Chatterbox because you aren’t pleased or familiar with Google+ or Networked Blogs, there’s a third widget that’s been added to Chubby Chatterbox. All you need to do is submit your e-mail address on the blog page and then follow the simple instructions on a site called Blogtrottr. Be sure to add my NEW URL (chubbychatterbox.com) and not the old one  I’m told this is extremely uncomplicated and I hope some of you will give this a try and let me know how it works.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It Would Serve Me Right

 
A painting hangs in our dining room that might look familiar to many of you; it shows Claude Monet’s famous Japanese Bridge at Giverny. Monet painted a dozen versions of this bridge—all at different times of the day in an exploration of color and light—but he didn’t paint this one. I did, forty years ago. I say this not as a boast for having done a decent job of mimicking Monet’s style, but as a confession for a serious lack of judgment. Read about it here.

Note: If you haven’t yet joined the new Chubby Chatterbox because you aren’t pleased or familiar with Google+ or Networked Blogs, there’s a third widget that’s been added to Chubby Chatterbox. All you need to do is submit your e-mail address on the blog page and then follow the simple instructions on a site called Blogtrottr. I’m told this is extremely uncomplicated and I hope some of you will give this a try and let me know how it works.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

The Greatest Artist I've Ever Known

Grandma Chatterbox is finally home from the hospital and she’s progressing better than she wants to admit. Her surgery has left her weak and she needs assistance to maintain her apartment and independence. It’s fallen on me to find someone to help her. There are many good organizations to draw on and much of my time is currently being spent searching for a suitable individual who can put up with Mom’s idiosyncrasies. 

This hasn’t prevented my head from filling with fresh stories, but lately I haven’t had time to read many of your posts much less write new ones of my own. Hopefully my situation will soon return to normal. Until then, here’s another of my favorites….  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Confession

 
I confess that I’m not my cheery self this morning. I’m feeling a bit low lately. The Connecticut shootings are weighing heavily on my mind. What’s worse is that I’m having difficulty separating all of these shootings. They’re beginning to blur. We even had one here in Oregon a few days ago at the Clackamas Town Center not far from where I live....


Friday, December 14, 2012

The Running of the Grunion

  
Update: Grandma Chatterbox is still in the hospital after her surgery and will probably be released in a day or two. I’ve been busy trying to arrange home care for her and haven’t been able to write or respond to many of your posts. If you haven’t heard from me please know that I look forward to catching up with my reading as soon as I can. In the meantime, here’s one of my favorite posts from last year.  

Note: If you haven’t yet joined the new Chubby Chatterbox because you aren’t pleased or familiar with Google+ or Networked Blogs, there’s a third widget that’s been added to Chubby Chatterbox. All you need to do is submit your e-mail address on the blog page and then follow the simple instructions on a site called Blogtrottr. I’m told this is extremely uncomplicated and I hope some of you will give this a try and let me know how it works.

CC

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bloomin Onion



This is how The Outback Restaurant describes its Bloomin Onion appetizer: a true Outback original. “Our special onion is hand-carved by a dedicated bloomologist, cooked until golden and ready to dip into our spicy signature bloom sauce.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Find out at the new Chubby Chatterbox why we were afraid to eat it.

Note: If you haven’t yet joined the new Chubby Chatterbox (Here) because you aren’t pleased or familiar with Google+ or Networked Blogs, there’s a third widget that’s been added to Chubby Chatterbox. All you need to do is submit your e-mail address on the blog page and then follow the simple instructions on a site called Blogtrottr. I’m told this is extremely uncomplicated and I hope some of you will give this a try and let me know how it works.
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Monday, December 10, 2012

The Deal Breaker on Becoming Jewish

  
     
Now that it’s Hanukkah I’m reposting a story from my memoir The Kid In the Kaleidoscope, a true tale about my decision to become Jewish when I was ten, and how I questioned my decision when I found out about the deal breaker….

Note: If you haven’t yet joined the new Chubby Chatterbox (Here) because you aren’t pleased or familiar with Google+ or Networked Blogs, there’s a third widget that’s been added to Chubby Chatterbox. It’s called Blogtrottr and all you need to do is submit your e-mail address and then follow the simple instructions. I’m told this is extremely uncomplicated and I hope some of you will give this a try and let me know how it works.
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Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Killer Case of the Hickeys


  
Update: Thanks to everyone who has expressed concern and sent good wishes to my mother. Grandma Chatterbox had her surgery yesterday and all appears to be well. The doctors had to remove a foot of damaged bowel and my mother claims they dropped her on the floor after surgery while transferring her to the gurney for the trip to the recovery room. The doctors say this never happened and that drugs can play games with your imagination. Mom believes there’s a conspiracy afoot and she’s demanding an investigation—sounds like the old Mom, full of piss and vinegar. I’m sure she’ll pull through just fine; her nurses and doctors are another story. 

Note: If you haven’t yet joined the new Chubby Chatterbox because you aren’t pleased or familiar with Google+ or Networked Blogs, there’s a third widget that’s been added to Chubby Chatterbox. It’s called Blogtrottr and all you need to do is submit your e-mail address and then follow the simple instructions. I’m told this is extremely uncomplicated and I hope some of you will give this a try and let me know how it works.

Check here for one of my favorite true stories: A Killer Case of the Hickeys.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gray Lady Down

 
Many of you who are regular readers of this blog are familiar with my mother, who I write about frequently. Unfortunately, Mom has been in the hospital with a bowel obstruction the past few days and Mrs. Chatterbox and I have been busy keeping her company and tending to her affairs. I don’t think Mom is in any real danger, but today her doctor decided to operate. The procedure will take place Friday morning. With surgery there are always risks, especially when dealing with a patient who’s eighty-seven years old.
      
Since I’ve been away from my computer this week, and could be for a while, I haven’t had time to respond to many of your posts or write new ones. For the next few days I’ll be rerunning a few of my favorites. These were written back in the day when I only had a handful of followers so they should be new to most of you. I’ll be back with new posts soon.
      
There’s one story I can’t wait to tell: Mom has a crush on her handsome surgeon, Dr. Fernando. Lying in a hospital bed for a week isn’t good for anyone’s appearance but today Mom requested a highly personal item to improve her appearance and increase her…allure, proving that even an eighty-seven year old woman with very few teeth can still respond to an attractive guy. You won’t believe what personal item my mother requested before going under the knife.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The World Awaits Us

 
Mrs. Chatterbox and I have selected our next travel destination, and we’re a bit concerned about it. Our destination is revealed here, and I hope you'll sign up to join the new Chubby Chatterbox while you’re at it.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Blue Car Tuesday

 
     
 I don’t post on Tuesdays but you might want to think about this story tomorrow, especially if you drive a blue car.
     
     The new guy had potential, even if he was an arrogant jerk. My father-in-law, who’d worked at the Fireman’s Fund Headquarters in Marin County for years, had a devilish sense of humor and decided to prank him. Read about it here, and then show your support for the new Chubby Chatterbox by signing up as a member.

CC.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Seeing Red!

  
Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone many of my fellow bloggers are posting pictures of the arts and crafts they’re making as holiday gifts for friends and family. I can’t help but reflect on how inventive and imaginative people are out there in the Blogosphere. Such talent and creativity! It makes me think back to the time I decided to become an artist....


Have you joined the new Chubby Chatterbox yet? This site will be closing in a few weeks.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Kindred Spirits: A True Story

 

There was something strange about the hundred year old house we bought in 2002. Read about it here, and I hope you’ll accept my invitation to join the new Chubby Chatterbox.

CC

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Uncle Sam and Kotex

  

The lady behind the counter pushed the unbagged box of Kotex in my direction, oblivious to the fact that she held my quivering soul in her hands.... 
Check here for the conclusion of Uncle Sam and Kotex, and sign up to join the new Chubby Chatterbox.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Uncle Sam and Kotex

 




When I was ten years old I was ordered to run an errand for my mother, a task no boy should be asked to do unless there’s a licensed psychiatrist in the family. Read about it Here, and while you're at it sign up for the new Chubby Chatterbox if you haven't already.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Peculiar Picture #19



  
Here’s another illustration that seemed like a good idea at the time, but I don’t think it’s ever been published. I’ve always been a lover of bold colors and that love is evident here, even if nothing else is. Does this picture mean anything to you?


Tomorrow at the new and improved Chubby Chatterbox I'll be sharing one of my favorite Ricky Delgado adventures from my memoir The Kid in the Kaleidoscope. I hope you'll come along for the ride (Here) and I hope you'll take this opportunity to join the new site if you haven't already.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Freshly Brewed Hype

 
Some things just don’t live up to their hype, things that might surprise you. While you’re reading about it here, I hope you’ll sign up for the new Chubby Chatterbox.

CC

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Best Turkey Ever!

  
Millions of folks are buttering up turkeys today and preparing to slide them into ovens, but you might want to read about a happy accident responsible for the best turkey I’ve ever eaten. Check it out Here. And sign up to join the new Chubby Chatterbox while you're there.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Peculiar Picture # 18

 
This illustration was painted as a joke. To learn the punch line visit the new Chubby Chatterbox here. And while you’re at it take a moment to join my new site so you don’t miss out on the fun.

CC

Monday, November 19, 2012

What's the CIA Really Hiding?




It isn’t surprising that the CIA has secrets, but this one just might surprise you. Read about it Here, and then take a moment to join the new Chubby Chatterbox.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Many people have wondered what it would be like to work in a bank and have someone walk up to you and say, “Give me the money or there’s going to be trouble!” This happened to me and you can read about it Here. If you enjoy my story I hope you’ll show your support by joining the new Chubby Chatterbox.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Brown Bear

 

When I graduated from college I discovered that my art degree made me about as hirable as a shepherd. I finally landed a job, but it was a disaster. Read about it here, and while you’re at it I invite you to Join the new site.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Golden Skeleton In Our Past

  
When you dig into your family’s past you’re likely to discover things you’d rather not know, like the dirty 126 year old secret I discovered. Read about it here, and while you’re at it please sign up to join the new Chubby Chatterbox.
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Monday, November 12, 2012

Someone Had To Be First


  
We know so many important names in history, the first human to set foot on the moon, the first person to fly solo over the Atlantic or the first intrepid souls to reach the poles or scale Mount Everest, but who was the first person to have their picture taken?
     
Having our picture snapped is an occurrence we all take for granted. You don’t need to be a famous fashion model to be photographed relentlessly. We’re photographed at the DMV, entering banks and convenience stores, enjoying ourselves at sporting events, pausing at stop lights and often just walking down the street, which many see as a violation of privacy. Conservative estimates place the number of photographs taken by year 2000 at an amazing 85 billion—an incredible 2,500 photos per second—and experts believe we are rapidly closing in on 3.5 trillion photographs. But, as in all things, when it comes to having your picture taken someone had to be first.
     
In 1838 Louis Daguerre, the father of modern photography, tired of taking still-life pictures of fruit and plaster casts in the corner of his Parisian studio. He aimed his bulky contraption out the window to shoot a photograph of bustling Boulevard du Temple below. He held his camera as steady as he could for ten minutes, the amount of time required for an exposure. His arms must have ached when he finally set down his cumbersome camera. The picture Daguerre later developed showed the boulevard just as he’d seen it. Well, not exactly; the buildings and trees were perfectly recorded, but where were the well-dressed couples promenading down the street? Where were the bustling carriages and prancing horses? What happened to the street peddlers showing their wares to young dandies out for a leisurely stroll? 
     
Daguerre’s picture took so long to develop that all moving things disappeared from the scene, as if they hadn’t been there at all. Or so it seems. If you look closely at the bottom left hand corner of the image, a man stands on the otherwise empty street. Who is he? Had he been an astronaut or explorer we would surely know his name. He is standing still because he is having his shoes shined—the man doing the polishing is moving too quickly to be recorded and has blurred into oblivion. Upwards of fifty billion pictures of people have been taken since the perfection of photography, and this man, oblivious to the significance of the moment, was the first. Yet we know nothing about him. Perhaps he was someone just like you.
      
How many times have you paused on a sunny day for a simple pleasure? An ice cream cone, a chat with a friend, a lingering moment on a park bench to watch the world pass by. Haven’t we all done these things and disregarded them as common occurrences unworthy of reflection? Once upon a time a fellow paused to have his shoes shined. 

     
Treasure each moment of your life because at any moment something extraordinary can happen.

This site will be closing shortly and I hope you'll join me at chubbychatterbox.com/blog


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Peculiar Picture #17

 
     
     To my knowledge, this illustration from my royalty free CD Business Fundamentals has never been used. Years ago I sat in my studio imagining what sort of illustrations art directors could use. Altogether, I created sixty images for my CD and I still receive royalty checks. Most of these illustrations have made their way into books and magazines around the world, but this one has yet to be published. Can you think of a purpose for this picture?

Note: This site will be closing soon and moving to chubbychatterbox.com/blog. Hope to see you there.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Birthday #60

  
Mrs. Chatterbox is slightly older than me; she turned 60 three weeks ago. Since then I’ve pretended I was a younger man consorting with a cougar. But yesterday was my birthday. Now I’m S-I-X-T-Y, and taking solace in a post I wrote back in my younger days, when I was a mere 59:
      
There are benefits to not being good with numbers and I’m reaping one right now. I thought this was the year I hit the big 60 but I now realize it’s only my fifty-ninth birthday, which I thought I’d celebrated last year. Because I have difficulty accessing that part of my brain where mathematics lurks like a creepy spider I get another year before leaving behind my fifties. Twelve months that I thought I’d spent but hadn’t. Quite a gift, but what should I do with it?
     
Those who know me well have little difficulty believing me capable of such a mistake. In school I was a dullard at math; numbers were just beginning to make sense when the government instigated something called “New Math,” to help us compete with the Russians, who’d recently launched Sputnik and were about to take over the world and make us drink vodka and eat stinky black fish eggs.
      
Actually, people tell me I look much younger than I am. Either they’re just being nice or there are benefits to having a fat face—fat puffs out the wrinkles. If I start losing weight I’ll look like a deflating zeppelin. But there’s another reason I’m often mistaken for someone younger: I possess a disarming sense of immaturity that is so rare in one my age that it’s often mistaken for youth. In short, I’m childish, and I work hard at staying that way.
      
I ended the post last year with this paragraph: 
    
So what should I do with this extra year? Skydiving? The only way to get me to jump
out of a plane is to set it on fire. Learn another language? I haven’t mastered or done much with this one. Oh wait, of course! I know what I’ll do, if I can summon the nerve. I’ve never done anything like it before and it will be f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c….
      
Last year I did manage to accomplish my goal of doing something fantastic and I’d love to tell you what it was, but as many of you know my wife and son both work for the local police department. Many of our men in blue read Chubby Chatterbox. I can’t admit what I did because technically…it wasn’t legal.

  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Justifying The "B" Word

 
Yes, I admit it; in a moment of weakness I looked my son’s godmother in the face and called her the “B” word. Horrible I know, but don’t condemn me until you know the facts.
      
Our son’s godparents (I’ll refer to them as Mr. and Mrs. G.) are psychologists and a delightful couple. They live in Sacramento and are our oldest and closest friends—the reason we selected them to be our son’s godparents. They’d agreed to raise little CJ should a tragedy make him an orphan. Mrs. Chatterbox and I were visiting them a few weeks before our first trip to Hawaii. Mrs. C. and I hadn’t traveled anywhere since our son was born and we were bubbling over with anticipation of tropical breezes, white sand and rum drinks served in coconuts.
      
Wine had loosened our tongues by the time Mrs. G. said to me, “You guys are going to have a great time in Hawaii. I hear the snorkeling is incredible.”
      
I laughed and said,” You’re kidding, of course. I have no intention of going snorkeling.”
      
Had Mrs. G. not been working on her second glass of rosé she might have remembered my fear of sharks. Instead, she looked down her sharp nose and said in a tone she, no doubt, used on her patients, “You know, if you go all the way to Hawaii and refuse to go snorkeling because of your fear of sharks, it’s no longer a fear; it will have grown into a phobia.”
      
“Do you have any idea how many people are killed in Hawaii because of sharks?” I said. “They keep it out of the papers so it won’t affect tourism.”
      
Mrs. G. shook her head and made a tsk…tsk…tsk sound. She spelled it out: “P-h-o-b-i-a.”
      
Her words were still haunting me when a few weeks later Mrs. C. and I arrived in Hawaii. I’d be damned if I’d let my fear grow into a phobia. I purchased a snorkel and mask, and like a doomed convict being pushed toward a firing squad made my way into the surf.
      
I spent nearly two hours in the water. Without my glasses, everything was a blur; every rock seemed to be sprouting razor-sharp teeth and my head was filled with the sound of cello music and blood pounding in my ears. It was the worst two hours of my life, but when I staggered from the waves I was rewarded with the satisfaction that I did not have a phobia.
      
Months later the Gs visited us in Oregon. We shared pictures of our Hawaii trip and I mentioned my snorkeling accomplishment with pride. Mrs. G. congratulated me. Eventually the conversation shifted to other things.
      
 “Did I mention my grandmother is flying to Israel for a month and has offered to pay all my expenses if I join her?” Mrs. G said.
      
“That’s incredible!” I knew how proud she was of her Jewish heritage. “When do you leave?”
      
Mrs. G. shook her head. “I have no intention of going.”
      
Her answer shocked me. “Why not? It would be a trip of a lifetime.”
     
 “It would require a long flight, and I have no intention of strapping myself into a flying coffin. Do you have any idea how heavy airplanes are? No one can explain to me why they don’t just drop out of the sky.”
     
 “But you’ve wanted to visit Israel for years!” I exclaimed.
      
She crossed her arms tightly and said, “Not going!”
      
I thought long and hard, choosing my words carefully. From the far side of the room my wife glared at me, a glare I understood to mean: Do not go there! But I couldn’t help myself.
      
I looked squarely into Mrs. G’s eyes. “You told me that if I went to Hawaii and refused to go snorkeling, my fear of sharks would become a phobia, so I went snorkeling, and it was two of the worst hours of my life. Now you tell me you’re turning down an all-expense paid trip to Israel because you’re afraid to fly?”
      
“That’s correct,” admitted the godmother of my child—one of my oldest friends.
      
“There’s a word for women like you.”
      
Her eyebrows shot up. “Really. What would that be?”
     
 “BITCH!”


Note: The Gs are still our oldest and best friends. And eventually Mrs. G. did make that trip to Israel. Also, this blog will be shutting down shortly so please rejoin at chubbychatterbox.com/blog.
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Monday, November 5, 2012

Peculiar Picture #16

 
Here’s a picture I painted a few years ago. The inspiration came from a photograph taken in a stairwell in Florence, Italy. The initial illustration seemed incomplete and I was at a loss trying to figure out what the composition needed. I set it aside. Several years later I dug out the unfinished illustration and figured out what was missing.
      
Painted with acrylic on untempered masonite, I used glazes to build up the translucent darkness from a mixture of viridian green and alizarin crimson; no black was used. I approved of the dark mood, inspired by the backgrounds in many of Rembrandt’s paintings, but the painting lacked an emotional counter punch. So I added the balloon.
      
This illustration has never been sold and seen by only a handful of people, until now. What does it mean? I have an idea, but what do you think?

I hope you’ve moved over to the new Chubby Chatterbox. This site will be closing shortly.